Good evening all!
This is the third book in my new m/f paranormal romance series – The Paladin Protection Agency. It is due to be released Jan 31st with Siren-Bookstrand.
Sometimes everything has to go wrong so fate can make it right.
Valentina Farro is used to being the hunter, not the hunted, but when a vampire marks her for death, everything changes. Now one of Paladin’s fiercest warriors is fighting for her life and the lives of her Paladin family.
It should have just been another assignment, but nothing goes according to plan when the vampire Aedan Doyle is hunting leads Aedan to Valentina & Paladin’s doorstep. Determined to keep Val safe from the vampire’s vengeance, Aedan appoints himself as Val’s personal bodyguard. Then he makes sure he’s guarding her beautiful body up close and personal, every chance he gets.
As the body count rises, Valentina and Aedan’s new bond is tested to the breaking point. Trusting each other with their lives is one thing, but can two solitary warriors find the courage to trust each other with their hearts?
“You’re going to need to put some pressure on that.” A voice came out of the darkness, and Val acted out of instinct, her gun trained on the new arrival before she remembered she was in the middle of Seattle and not some godforsaken warzone.
“How the hell is everyone managing to sneak up on me tonight?” she muttered in frustration as she got to her feet, still feeling slightly unsteady but determined not to show it.
“You can put the gun down, luv. I’m one of the good guys.” The stranger’s voice was gentle, and there was an almost musical lilt to his words as he held his hands up, showing he was unarmed.
“Forgive me if I don’t take your word on that.”
He reached up slowly and swept a sodden tumble of auburn curls out of his eyes so she could see his face. “Those holes in your neck are going to keep bleeding unless I treat them. It’s a charming little trick they have, something in the saliva that stops the blood from clotting properly.” He took a step forward. “My name is Aedan, and I’m sorry I didn’t get here in time to save your friend. You must be a member of the Paladin Protection Agency.”
Val lowered the gun, though she didn’t take her finger off the trigger. “Did Remington take out a front page ad or something? How is it everyone I’ve met tonight knows who I am and who I work for?” She raised her free hand and clamped it down on the wound on her neck, hissing slightly in pain as she pressed hard to slow the bleeding.
“Your organization seems to have run afoul of a very nasty vampire, luv.”
“Stop calling me that,” Val snapped.
Aedan grinned and took another step toward her. “I’d use your name, but first you need to tell me what it is.”
“It’s Val,” she offered and lowered her gun the rest of the way. “And I’ve decided I’m going to trust you, for now.” As he moved close enough that she could see him properly, Val realized he was probably used to being trusted on sight. Or being flirted with on sight, she mentally added as she took in his appearance. His eyes were hazel, and even in the dim light of the street she could make out the smattering of freckles that dusted his chiseled features. Even soaking wet and half in shadow, the man was definitely easy on the eyes.
“I’m pleased to meet you, Val. Though I will admit I wish it were under more cheerful circumstances.” Aedan reached into his pocket, and Val lifted the gun slightly in warning. “Easy now, I’ve got something that’ll help with the bleeding. No need to shoot the man offering to help.” He dug deeper and withdrew what looked like a small, plastic squeeze bottle full of water.
“What is it?” She eyed the bottle with distrust. The wound on her neck hurt like hell, and the bleeding hadn’t stopped yet, but she’d rather deal with the discomfort than let a stranger dose her with god knew what. “And for that matter, how do you know about Paladin? Or vampires?”
Aedan chuckled. “Is this what you call trusting someone? I’d hate to see how you react to someone you don’t trust if this is the warm and fuzzy version.” He tipped the bottle over and squeezed a bit of the liquid onto his hand, where it blended with the rain. “It’s holy water, that’s all. It’ll help. And as for how I know about Christoph and his kind, I’m a hunter.”
“Oh, that clears it up nicely,” Val shot back and arched a brow at him in irritation. “What the hell do you hunt? Deer? Criminals? Unicorns?”
“Vampires actually,” Aedan answered in a matter-of-fact tone as he nodded toward her injury. “Will you permit me to fix that for you, or are you going to just keep bleeding until your friends arrive?”
It was at times like these Val envied her teammate Tara her empathic abilities. It would have made it so much easier to know if she could trust this charming man, or if she was about to fall victim to her infamously bad sense of character judgment yet again.
“Go ahead.” She lifted her fingers away and frowned when she saw that she was still bleeding heavily. “And uh, thanks.”
“This might sting a bit,” he warned her.
“It’s only water. How much could it—yeow!” She yelped in surprise at the burning sensation that flared up and then faded as quickly as it had come. “I thought you said that was just water?”
“Holy water, Father Patrick’s special blend in point of fact. It has the power to purify that which has been tainted by the undead.”
“So that hurt because your friend Christoph left me with a neck full of vamp venom?”
“Something like that, yes. But let’s be clear here, Christoph is no friend of mine. He’s more like my current assignment. Forgive me for saying so, but you don’t seem too well informed for a group that managed to kill off an entire nest of Christoph’s fledglings. I’m going to guess you’re new to this sort of thing.”
Before she could answer him, several sets of headlights appeared on the road, heading toward them at high speed.
“It would appear your friends have arrived.”
Before she could say a word, he brushed a quick kiss to her lips, and then his voice whispered in her ear, “I’ll see you again soon, luv.” Then he was gone. Between one heartbeat and the next, he vanished. Her lips still tingled from the kiss he’d given her before he had disappeared, the only proof he’d ever been there at all.
* * * * * * *
Guarding Valentina will be out January 31st, and should be available soon for pre-order at Siren-Bookstrand.
The rest of the Series can be purchased at Siren-Bookstrand and will be coming soon to Amazon and B&N
Book One – Saved by Sin: http://www.bookstrand.com/saved-by-sin
Book Two – On Jason’s Watch: http://www.bookstrand.com/on-jasons-watch